August 29, 1999
When I mention the word “sex,” what comes to mind? Don’t answer out loud, please. I know our minds are flooded with a myriad of thoughts and connotations. But I doubt very seriously when I mention the word that anyone in this place thought about God or any biblical connotations. But you should. God designed this desire. He fashioned us uniquely as a male or a female.
Just yesterday morning one of my five-year-old daughters looked up at me and said, “Dad, when you saw Mommy for the first time, did you whistle?” I answered that I probably did. God has given us this wolf-whistle desire for the opposite sex. He has given us the gift of sex and He has provided a powerful place, a valuable venue, to practice and to utilize this gift. Now when you walked in this morning, as you looked at the worship bulletin or maybe you heard Rob introduce today’s talk, you may have said to yourself, “Sex Busters, that is kind of a negative spin on sex, isn’t it, Ed?” And you are right. Normally I don’t like to present stuff from the Bible in a negative way, but today I decided to do so. Sex is a positive thing, it is a good thing. It is from God and He wants us to experience great sex. However, in a crowd this size, research would show that at least a third to one half of the married couples are experiencing a moderate to major level of sexual frustration in marriage.
We have to deal with sex busters. What hang-ups are sex busters? Sex busters are attitudes or habits that keep us from using this God-give gift in a God-ordained way.
Well, here is how this talk is going to go. I am going to give you several sex busters and beneath the sex busters, I am going to throw in some sex builders. Sex builders will help you get rid of the things that are keeping you from being the kind of mate, sexually speaking, that God wants you to become. If you want to make love regularly, creatively and often, you had better deal with today’s subject matter.
It is amazing how people pay attention when you are talking about sex. No one is sleeping. No one is drifting. No one is counting ceiling lights. Sometimes people are stunned that we would talk about sex in church. You shouldn’t be. If you say that, you don’t know the Bible. We should not be ashamed to talk about what God was not shamed to create and to put in print. The two most prominent places where we should discuss this matter are the home and the church. Historically the church has done a pathetic job in talking about sex. But we want to change that. Some churches are getting real and talking about what God’s word says about this subject.
Let’s talk about the first of nine sex busters. When couples are unaware of God’s take on the subject, unaware of what the Bible says, totally brainless, clueless. The evil one does not want you to have the biblical knowledge, information and application principles regarding this subject. He doesn’t want you to have a great sex life because, if you do, you will bond with your spouse like super glue. Plus, your sexual relationship and connection will provide a foundation for great child rearing principles. Plus, he will be defeated. He doesn’t want you to know this stuff.
Yet, most couples are unaware of what the scripture says about frequency, what it says when one person is in the mood and the other not in the mood, what it says about romance, what it says about being innovative in the bedroom. Unaware, unaware, unaware. Well, now let’s look at the sex builder. The sex builder is that we have got to get in sync with scriptural sexuality.
1 Corinthians 7:3-4, “Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife and likewise, also, the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, also, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” We have got to get in sync with scriptural sexuality. There is a huge linkage between spirituality and sexuality. Couples who make time to express love to God in an authentic way make time to make love together a lot.
I have talked to numerous couples who have Christ-centered marriages, and they have wonderfully, mutually satisfying sexual relationships. There is study after study that shows that the most sexually satisfied people in marriage are those who pray together, those who read the Bible together and those who go to church together. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure it out. God made it and they are doing sex the way He wants them to do it.
This verse, though, talks about management, doesn’t it? If you are next to your spouse, turn and look at them for just a second. Your spouse is in management over your body. He is. She is. “You are kidding me, Ed.” One more time, the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but his wife does. Are you in sync?
Well, let’s go to the next sex buster. Some couples are clueless about varying sex drives. I am going to say something very profound now. Hold on to your theater seats, please. Men and women are different. For example, a man’s sex drive is kind of like a sprint. That quick, he is ready to sprint into sex. A woman’s sex drive is more like running a 5K. She just jogs into sex. God has wired us up differently and we have unique sex drives. A husband experiences sex and from sex flows the feelings. The wife has to experience feelings and from there, the sex.
Here is what we do though and here are the problems that occur. The husband, the sprinter, approaches his wife the way he wants to be approached. He is aggressive and initiative taking and he sprints into sex. The wife, what does she do? She approaches her husband the way she wants to be approached, with romance, with intimacy, with gentleness. She just jogs into sex. So, you have got a problem and some tension going on. You have one party doing one thing his way, the other party doing her thing her way. Whoa. As Keith Jackson says, “Whoa, Nelly.” Keith Jackson is the famous football commentator, for those of you who don’t watch football. He was a great announcer. But he retired.
We are clueless about varying sex drives. So what is the sex builder? I love this sex builder. Wives and husbands who have it together dial into their drive. The husband dials into his wife’s drive sexually. The wife dials into her husband’s drive sexually. Let me talk to the men first. For the most part, we desire sex more than our wives desire sex. Not all the time. Not across the board, but in most situations and circumstances. We know how it is, don’t we, when we make our move and she doesn’t like the move. She is not in the mood. And we know the feeling that we have when that occurs. Don’t act like you don’t know what I am talking about.
Dr. Willard Harley, a Christian psychologist, has a beautiful illustration that really hammers home an understanding of a man’s sex drive for a women and what a man goes through when he is rejected. Suppose, husbands and wives, there was a stool with a glass of water sitting on it. The husband is next to the stool and the wife is next to him. The wife is immobilized. She can’t get the water. The husband is the one who can get the water. Here is what happens, Harley writes. The wife turns to her husband and says, “Honey, would you please pour me a glass of water. I am getting thirsty.” The husband turns and responds by saying, “I don’t really feel like it. I am not in the mood. Maybe in a couple of hours.” Hours roll by. One more time the wife turns to her husband. “Honey, I am getting thirsty. Would you please give me a glass of water.” The husband responds, “You know I am kind of tired. I have had a long day, OK?” Then the wife begins to get angry. She can feel the temperature rising. She wants a glass of water. So she begins to demand a drink of water. “I want a glass of water. You are the only one who can give me the glass of water.” The husband looks at his wife, spins on his heels and says, “You are not going to get any water with an attitude like that.” The husband returns to the scene about a day later. Nor the wife is livid. Finally, the husband says, “OK. Here is your water. Just drink it. Just drink it.” When the wife is gulping it down, do you think she is satisfied? Do you think her thirst is really quenched? Not really. She is thinking that she is going to be thirsty again and that she better watch what she says to her husband because…. So goes a man’s sex drive. Like water quenches his thirst physically, sex in marriage quenches his emotions in a physical, spiritual and emotional and psychological manner.
Well, now let’s pick on the men. Men are so compartmentalized, so structured. Most of us are brainless concerning the overall context of the relationship. We are kind of one-dimensional people. I was boarding an airplane a couple of days ago. I walked by a group of women and one was reading a book entitled ALL ABOUT MEN. So, I looked at her and said, “All about men!” She said, “Yeah, it’s a short book too.” I nearly died laughing. I took my seat about ten rows back and said, “I’m going to put that in my message, baby.” The house could be dirty. You could have just been in a major argument five minutes earlier. If you are a man, though, you kind of pat your wife on the posterior and say, “Hey, hey, hey. How about now.”
Wives, on the other hand, are multifaceted and multidimensional. The context is huge for them. They have got to know that everything is A-OK outside the master bedroom before everything gets A-OK between the sheets. So what do we do about it? Yes, there are those times when the husband and wife are both in the mood, when they both want to make love. But what do you do when one is ready for it and the other is not? Husbands, here is what you do. You slow down. Quit being a sprinter all the time. Slow down. Jog a little bit. It is fun to jog. Wives, don’t always run so slow. Do some sprints in between that 5K. When the husband is thinking about her needs and the wife is thinking about his needs, when the husband is doing some jogging and the wife some sprinting, you have got two people understanding the pace of passion. I like that. The pace of passion.
Let’s go to the next sex buster. A lot of couples have an unrealistic portrayal of sex. I had a good friend of mine at Florida State University. When we would watch movies together, if he would see something that was tired, that was a reach, kind of lame, he would say, “Ehhhhh, unrealistic.” The first couple of times it was funny, but after the tenth time I wanted to squash him.
We have a lot of unrealistic images out there regarding sexuality. Hollywood just hits us with the stuff over and over again. Some of the magazines, the videos, the Internet…sex does not happen like it does on the silver screen. A man and a woman just look at each other and five seconds later the clothes are ripped off and you know… That is not the way it happens in marriage. That is not it. It is a lie. So when you see it, just say, ehhhhhh, unrealistic. If the Hollywood crowd had it down cold then their lives wouldn’t be so messed up. If you had to be buff and beautiful to have great sex, then they would have a corner on the market. But you are talking about some messed up people. All you have to do is go through the checkout line at Tom Thumb and look at the front covers of the magazines to see that these people’s lives aren’t great.
Don’t measure your sexuality through the grid of the movies, the videos and the secular media. That is not the real story. Let me say something about pornography here. I know it is vogue these days to bring adult videos into the bedroom. Husbands and wives rationalize this by saying that it will give them a boost in the bedroom, watching another couple make love. “What turns them on, turns us on.” I have read the research. Don’t go there. Number one. You bring an adult video into the bedroom, you are involved in lust. Number two. It will always get you wanting more and more. You can get addicted to it. Plus you will start to need it just to be aroused with your spouse. If you are involved with pornographic videos, go home and throw them out and don’t get another one.
Let’s talk about the sex builder. See through the smoke screen, this secular smoke screen. Run your love life through the scriptural grid. See what the Bible says about it. One man, one woman, committed to God and to each other in the context of marriage who are selfless, who are serving, who are creative and who make love and see sex as a part of discipleship. It is part of our obedience to God. It is progressing as a Christian. One lady left the earlier service and spoke to my wife, Lisa. “I really enjoyed today’s message. My husband and I are going to go home and do some discipleship.”
Another sex buster, number four. This is one of my favorites. I just laughed when Stan Durham gave me this idea. Grooming issues. “Hey, I got my spouse. I can lose the look and gain the weight. I can go on a hygiene hiatus, man. No problem. You should have seen me when I was dating her, though. I have got her now, but see that uniform there? I have hung it from the rafters. Boy, I knew what to do then.” Here is what happens. Man, we are so pitiful at this hygiene stuff. Still walking around with that high school jock look, same old gym shorts, same old tank top, unshaven. “Hey, baby, I’ve still got it, you know.” The wife is wondering why she would want to touch him.
Here is what the wives do. They end up wearing those “not tonight, honey” nightgowns to bed. You know, the kind that screams headache. You know what I am talking about, don’t you? We laugh at that but there is something very painful for me that I will share with you. Please understand my spirit when I say this. Being in the ministry is something that I absolutely love. There is nothing like it. I see the good. I see the miracles of God. I see lives being changed regularly. There is nothing like it. But I also see the other side. I see the results of sin and the devastation of relationships that go astray. There is something that has always puzzled me about human nature. Maybe I will see someone who is involved in adultery and they will talk to me about it. I will look at them and say to myself, “What happened to you. You have lost 25 pounds, you are dressing cool, have a different hairstyle. You are working for it now, Jack. Why didn’t you work for it in marriage?” I will see someone who has just gone through a divorce. She has lost 40 pounds. She looks like Shania Twain now. “Why didn’t you do it when you were married?” This is not across the board. There are some exceptions. But you hear me screaming, why?
I was in a taxi in another city on my way to the airport. I spotted a sign which said, “It’s all about work.” It is. Remember our first session together when I talked about the MWE, the marital work ethic? It takes work to deal with these sex busters. Grooming issues.
So what is the sex builder? It comes from I Corinthians 6. Take care of the temple. My body is the temple, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit of God. I need to take care of the temple. I don’t trash the temple. I take care of it. I am not talking about turning into a Ken and Barbie couple, being obsessed. I am saying, though, do the best with what you have. Eat properly. Work out. Stay as lean as possible. It is an act of worship to God. Romans 12 says to present your body as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable before God. It is also an act of love to your spouse. Take care of the temple.
Let’s go to the next one. Before I say it, I know it will get quiet now. I have got to talk about this one because the Bible just puts this one in our face. Sex buster number five is the great refusal. You know what I am talking about. One wants it, the other says no. “No, I’m tired. I’m fatigued. That’s all you think about.” And most of the time it is a situation where the woman is giving those responses. Let me share with you what happens when you have a negative response to your spouse’s advances. First of all, you can shame your spouse by your response. Secondly, you can mess up your fellowship with God. Thirdly, you can cause heightened temptations.
In other words, don’t make leverage, make love. “Ed, those are bold words.” Those aren’t my words. Well, let’s talk about the sex builder. Call in the Corinthians. They were having arguments about this back in biblical times, one in the mood, one not. 1 Corinthians 7:5, “Stop depriving one another….” Let’s stop right there. Stop depriving one another. St. Paul wrote it, inspired by the Holy Spirit. “Stop depriving one another except by an agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer….” So the only excuse we give is, “I’m in prayer.” But you have both got to agree.
I was talking to Preston Mitchell, our Spiritual Development Pastor, about this. He said, “Yeah, if the husband and wife do agree to abstain for awhile, I know what the husband will be praying for. Sex.” “…and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
I don’t think the Bible tells us never to say no. But no should be the exception. And don’t just say no. If you say no, say no with an appointment. No, in a couple of hours. No, tomorrow morning. No, tomorrow night. A big excuse these days is, I’m tired. Being fatigued for the most part is a mental thing.
You know I love to fish and specifically fly fish in salt water. A while back I was up at four AM ready to fly fish. I was tired but mentally I told myself that I was going to fly fish for tarpon and that really perked me up. Too tired for sex? Twenty, thirty, forty-five minutes. Mentally tell yourself, I am having sexual intercourse with my husband, with my wife, this covenant partner. Mentally I am going to say I am ready.
The husband and wife are in bed and she is too tired. Suddenly the phone rings and it is her college roommate. She is transformed before your eyes from a fatigued female into a fantastic conversationalist. “Hi, girlfriend. It is so great to talk to you.” Her husband is going, what is up with that? It takes two to tango. If you want great conversation, you had better both be involved in it. You want great romance, you had better both be involved in it. You want great sex, you had better both be aroused.
“Well, Ed, you are telling me that I have to say yes a lot.” Yes, I am. That is what the Bible says. I am not talking about an apathetic yes. “OK, you can do it.” That is a sin before God. That is breaking the word given in 1 Corinthians 7:5. I know what you are thinking right about now. Right about now the wives are saying, “Honey, I just don’t like this message at all. He is a man and, of course, he is going to say what he is saying.” Well, let me tell you something. I ran this by Lisa and she said she didn’t think I was being hard enough on the women. And we will talk about that next weekend when Lisa and I will be on this stage to answers the questions that you have about marriage.
Number six is one of my favorites. It is a one worder. Kids. Now, children are a gift from God. I have done whole series on this subject. “It’s Ap-Parent” was a six-week series I did on child rearing. This year I am going to do another series just on the value and beauty of children. But, kids can and will bust up your sex. You know what KIDS stands for? Keeping Intimacy at a Distance Successfully. That is why I encourage couples to have a regular date night. I encourage you to have certain bed times for the children and certain areas of the house that are off limits during certain hours.
The sex builder is get on board the B52. B stands for a break. 52 stands for 52 weeks out of the year. Husbands and wives, I challenge you to take two breaks a year just for the two of you. Go away a night or two twice a year, every six months. Go away for romance. Go away for intimacy. Go away for sex. “Ed, you just don’t know our finances. We can’t afford that.” It is better to pay the price now, take out a loan if you have to, than to end up relationally bankrupt later on down the road. You don’t want to neglect the B52 and one day have the B52 carpet bomb your covenant. Take them. It is worth it. It will reap huge benefits in your marriage.
Number seven is sharing sacred stuff. Do not share those tidbits regarding what goes on in the bedroom with your golfing buddies, your tennis gal pals, with the person next to you at work. Don’t go there. Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all and let the marriage bed be undefiled.” If you want to talk to a Christian counselor, cool, but no one else. If you blab this stuff it will take away trust from your spouse and it can fan the flames of adultery.
Let’s go to the sex builder. Have a sex talk with your spouse. Sit down and share your likes and dislikes, wants and desires, problems and needs. Put it on the table and deal with it. Discuss it. Maybe go through a book on sex like “Restoring the Pleasure” by Drs. Cliff and Joyce Penner. Read aloud a chapter a night. Do something like that. You won’t believe what will happen. It will be great. The greatest thing in sex is communication. Share.
Number eight, for the singles now, premarital sex. Premarital sex is committing cosmic treason. I don’t care if it is with your fiancée, someone you have know for a long time. If you are living together, you are sinning before God. God will not bless your marital sexual life like He wants to if you are involved in premarital sex. We mention this a lot, yet people still do it. I understand the temptation. There is allurement there. Premarital sex, though, is not just a casual or physical thing. It is multi-faceted, multi-dimensional thing. There is a spiritual, a psychological, an emotional aspect to it. You involve yourself in premarital sex, you have a great chance in marrying the wrong person. Why? Because sex is so powerful. It blinds your reasoning abilities. You will hook up with him or her and later say, “Why in the world did I do that?” Probably it was because you had intercourse with him or her.
If you are having sex now outside of marriage, stop. Stop. Say that you are going to unwrap the greatest gift possible for your spouse on your wedding night, your sexuality. Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t kid yourself. Don’t fool yourself.
I have a close friend who lives on the West Coast. He was a college athlete. During that time, he was very promiscuous. He became a Christian later on and got married. After several years, his marriage was going through horrible problems, hanging by a thread. He was getting ready to do something that was so stupid that I could not believe it. Just by the grace of God and through some confrontation from Christian friends, he and his wife sought counseling. They got back on track and are now doing great. But he would be the first to tell you, if I could bring him on stage, that the reason he had those issues in marriage was because he was so promiscuous before marriage and he, so to speak, brought all of those girls into the bedroom. Don’t do it. It is not worth it. I know it is fun. Sin is fun. But sin not only has kicks, it has kickbacks. And the kickbacks are brutal.
What is the sex builder? Keep yourself for the covenant of marriage. I don’t need to explain any more.
Let’s go to the ninth and last one. It is a one worder. Monotony. Monotony. Same old, same old, rut-like relationship. Same old look. Same old wardrobe. Same old talk. Same old place. Same old love making. A monotonous marriage. One thing about the nature and character of God, He is not monotonous. He is highly creative, innovative. If we know Him and live for Him and worship Him corporately and individually, we are going to have creativity in every area of our lives. You can’t do the same things the same way and expect unique results. We have got to change. We have got to work. We have got to kick monotony out and do sex like God wants us to.
Let’s talk about the builder. Creativity. If you look up the word impractical in the dictionary, one of the synonyms is romantic. Don’t you like that? Romantic. We have got to become people of romance. And guys, we need help here. Here is your challenge, men. Take a modern translation and read the Old Testament book, Song of Solomon. Talk about some hot stuff. It is written to husbands and wives concerning lovemaking. And let me tell you what Solomon did. He was creative. He couldn’t even spell monotony. Solomon made his wife earrings. How do you like that, ladies? Solomon wrote her poetry. Solomon, on his own, paneled the master bedroom with wood cut from the cedars of Lebanon. He used to take her on long walks through the forest. What did his wife do? Was she monotonous? Did she say, “You can just do it.” No, she didn’t. She approached him the way he wanted to be approached. He approached her the way she wanted to be approached. The text reads that she danced before him in a sheer negligee. The text reads that Solomon took her to a biblical Bed and Breakfast. The text reads that Solomon’s wife took the initiative. The text reads that she said, “Solomon, let’s make love out of doors. I want to show you something old and something new.” I will stop here. You can read the rest. The B I B L E, that’s the book for me.
When I opened this talk, I asked what do you think about when I say the word sex. It is my prayer that from this day forward we will think about God and the biblical connotations, that we will do sex His way, within His parameters and we will use this gift the way He desires. Let’s thank God for that wolf-whistle desire for the opposite sex and deal with those sex busters.